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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  February 5, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST

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an all american arrival ceremony. the correct answer to our gps challenge question was, a, canada has no players in the super bowl this year. great britain has two, and jamaica, romania, and germany each have super bowl-bound footballers. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." the media haven't exactly had a soft spot for mitt romney. you know, stiff, awkward, weak frontrunner. he seemed to come riding high after a huge victory that is until an interview with soledad o'brien. >> i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. >> are journalists again taking romney out of context or just reporting the clumsy things he keeps saying.
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major news outlet breathlessly reports that donald trump is on the verge of a big endorsement. >> we don't expect him to say he is running for president, but politico and others are saying he is ready to back newt gingrich. >> hours later the donald backs romney. how did the press get it so wrong? plus, facebook files for a monster public offering. is sharing information with your friends now more powerful than the mega corporations of the media? i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." at a time the votes were counted in florida this week, the pundits have decided that mitt romney had all but wrapped up the republican nomination. newt gingrich might keep the race interesting, or so they hope, but have no real chance to win. romney hit the television circuit for what was supposed to be a victory lap, and the man
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who once said i enjoy being able to fire people, did it again. or did he? here is the exchange on cnn. >> by the way, i'm in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. i'm not concerned about the very rich. they're doing just fine. i'm concerned about the very heart of america, the 90%, 95% of americans who right now are struggling. >> i you just said i'm not concerned about the very poor. i think there are a lot of very poor americans who are struggling who say that sounds odd. >> that and not romney's primary victory soon became the hot media story. >> you don't say that stuff unless you have a tin ear, politically. you have to realize that that stuff is going tb used by europe independents, but it also signals that this is how mitt romney truly feels. >> he gets keep deeper and deeper into this pit of strange talk. he is talking about being president of all the people, and he is basically writing off people he doesn't think bshgs he doesn't care about. >> politically he comes across
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as a detached fdufus, and this comment today just feeds into a perception of him. >> are journalists showing their bias against romney, the rich guy, and what about that huge blunder with donald trump? jounks now here in washington jonathan martin, senior political reporter for politico. christina belatoni, political editor for pbs's "news hour" and michael sheerer, political correspondent for the "new york times". all this media hyper ventilation over a poor choice of words by romney, was it justified, or did it get at something deeper? >> well, i think it's justified in the sense that it wasn't just this isolated gaff. this is part of a collection of misstatements he has made when it comes to issues relating to put his personal wealth, but also just sensitivity towards money in general, and so i think in that sense it's fair game to talk about what he said. in terms of this specific episode, we all than he has used
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this sort of phraseology before, and so i think in that sense it's a tad unfair to pile on. i do think you have to look at the broader context over the last three months how many things like this he has said. >> if it's a tad unfair to pile on, michael sheerer, and he talked about the safety net, why did many in the press play it as i don't really care about the poor? >> i didn't disagree with jonathan's broader point about the broader context, but i think this was not the shining moment for the presses here. i think, you know, there was way too much taking this -- taking the democratic line on this that what he meant or what he said was that he didn't care about poor people. that's not what he said. none of us believe that, you know, that that's really what he said. we've all heard him say that before, and i think that, you know, you can sort of justify as the press, well, i'm writing about it because it's the broader context, but at the end of the day it got -- it got reported broadly as he doesn't care about poor people, and i don't think that's fap where are. >> it's the snow ball effect too. it's really this tail wagging
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the dog. you are seeing that every single outlet is make this the story, have you to make a decision about how do you cover it, and, you know, in some cases i think it can open up a bigger discussion about, well, is there a safety net for the poor? >> let me just stay with this for one minute. did this get so much attraction that romney is rich, cold, and aloof on the problems of regular americans? >> reporters do that all the time. they try to look for confirming narratives, and that is -- >> kind of troubling, isn't it? >> it's absolutely troubling. i think it's a better conversation to talk about the policy proposals under it, but it is difficult when you have the democrats certainly exercising this and romney himself having to address it. >> he first kind of defended what he said, and then 48 hours later said he misspoke, so he dug himself a deeper hole as well. >> he did. his folks pushed back really hard pointing he had used this phraseology before, but when the candidate himself says to jon rolston, i misspoke in that intufr, obviously --
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>> with the reporter in nevada. >> john rolston, it makes us look justified for jumping on it. my editor had a smart piece this week about this faux indig nation industry that has been created here in the political media culture, and both sides do it now where they jump on something that the opposition says and pretend to be outraged and even offended by it, but, you know what, they're not outraged or offended. they're gleeful because they have an opportunity to score political points. >> i think, look, he had -- romney had no choice by the end after the barrage that had happened for two days but to sort of do damage control. we all could have made the choice that, you know, that john harris suggested, which is not to -- not to buy into the whole thing and hold back. sdoo except that journalists that pick up on jonathan's phrase have a weakness or people might even say a strong freshness for this faux indig nation industry because it gives more sound bytes that we can play on television. >> politicians all fundraise off of it on both sides, and context
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is not the business of politics. it should be our business. >> in speaking of context, did we miss an opportunity? most outlites, not all, to do a deeper dive on the question of the poor and the safety net and what would romney do to that safety net and has he embraced certain proposals like that by congressman paul ryan, that would perhaps further shred or stretch that safety net for poor folks? >> i will promote the news hour a little bit because we did have a discussion about poverty the very next night looking at this issue, but it's also an opportunity to look at how americans see themselves. how many people want to be part of the middle class? they wouldn't want to say, well, i'm the very poor, and so that's a bigger conversation, and i would hope that in the next debate, this would maybe get a little bit more than just the back and forth. >> you all seem complicated about this. on the one hand you are saying this is the way the political media culture works. on the other hand, you seem a little embarrassed by it. >> look, i think that, you know, the too often the media gets into a defensive crouch over everything that we do, and, you know, in my opinion and i'm sure, you know, there are some
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of our colleagues who might disagree, but in my opinion this wasn't the best example of what we did. >> you may want to get deeper into a defensive crouch because i'm going to move now to the donald, and the big, big story about who he was going to endorse this week. let me start with this chronology. this is the story that moved on the associated press wire. real estate mogul and reality show star donald trump intends to endorse newt gingrich according to a source close to gingrich's campaign. trump is set to announce his support sunday in las vegas. the ap had plenty of company. the new york sometimes, wall street journal, and politico also cited unnamed sources that the donald would throw his support to newt. cnn's paul steinhauser had this report. >> wonderful our affiliates said that trump will be endorsing newt gingrich. we've reached out to the trump karch and gingrich camp. neither of them are denying this. then came the big day with trump endorsing mitt romney. >> i got to tell you, i was a little surprised that you
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endorsed mitt romney because over these past several months not everything you always said about him was positive. >> wrl, first of all, it is political talk, and second of all, he has done a great job, and i have done ae good job, and i have created a big condition, and he has done a really good job and put a lot of people to work. >> why would politico, among others rely on self-serving -- >> look, i mean, i think, you know, the "new york times", politico, a.p., all of us, were doing what we do. we're trying to break news, and in these circumstances, when you talk to a campaign that is poised to get the endorsement, you are going on their word, and in this case their word apparently wasn't that good. that's what we do sometimes. it's unfortunate, but i think, howie, if i could pivot, the broader story and honestly outraged about this as michael is about the romney gaff, why are we enabling donald trump so
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much in the media? especially i have to say -- especially on tv. we all do it in print certainly, but tv just cannot get enough of this guy. >> well, before we complete this pivot, i want to go to a conventional -- john harris said, "i think some sources thought they knew more than they really did," in terms whaf they were feeding you and other reporters. isn't this a moment for the "new york times" and others where the question really is two-fold. who cares who donald trump endorses? do you really care? how about not just taking it from sources close to the gingrich camp, which had an obvious interest in spinning this thing. >> maybe we should talk about mitt romney's poor comment. >> it's worse for newt now, right? i think, you know, this gets to the question of how many sources, how much sourcing should editors of all of our different organizations have taken a deep breath and questioned the reporters who were coming back and saying i have a source that says this or that. you know, clearly an
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embarrassment, i think, for those of us who went with it. >> don't forget that herman cain was going to endorse newt gingrich months before he actually did, and there's been a lot of sort of breathless be the first, be the ones to do this, and it happens all the time on twitter, but when news outlets go with it, it is a problem. >> i'm with jonathan on who cares what donald trump, you know -- >> there's polling in the last couple of days indicating that it was a negative for romney. the more people said that they would be less likely to support a candidate endorsed by trump. leaving that aside, trump is a big name. he is a showman. he knows how to get press. at the same time, the reason when you say who cares, we all enable donald trump because he is good for ratings, he is good for circulation. he is more interesting to write about than a thoughtful piece about the safety net for poor people. >> and the american people do pay attention to this. he has a very popular television show. >> you're defend it? >> no, actually, i think it's a mistake. i think the press sort of gives
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the american people what they say they want to watch, and then we continue feeding that, and the whole trump thing from the very beginning, was he going to run for president, was it a big stunt, why are we polling him in presidential polls. this man was never going to be president, and it's nonsense that we all feed into it because people respond to it. >> coming back to the act of having that story, why take the risk of being wrong when we're all going to find out in a few hours anyway? is it that we're all afraid that the other guy is going to get this ten minutes earlier? >> there is that competitive pressure now. there's no question about it. we are beholden to our sources, though, and when multiple news outlets have solid sources saying that their campaign is going to get the endorsement, well, typically the campaigns know if they're going to get an endorsement the next day from a public figure, and that's usually pretty solid. >> didn't your colleagues feel burned by this transaction? >> i think all of us felt burned, absolutely. what i think the gingrich campaign by putting out word that they're going to get an
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endorsement that they weren't going to get, not only hurt themselves because they looked bad in terms of they didn't get the endorsement, obviously, but also angering the reporters out there who put their neck on the line here. >> i'm going to button up this segment with you, jonathan martin. you also had an interesting story this week about mitt romney's campaign, which kind of parted ways with the debate coach. now, brett o'donnell who is credited for helping romney and those two florida debates. he did strongly there. let's talk about the campaign feelings about the "new york times" and who gets the credit for romney's debate performance? >> the story on politico on friday that i wrote was about how the romney campaign or circle thought that during the course of the florida primary this new debate advisor brett o'donnell was getting too much credit in news accounts about romney's improved florida debate performances, and so he was kind of set as an example out there and pushed out. part of this story was that big "new york times" story that
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michael's colleagues wrote a week ago sunday sort of was about how romney came back and destroyed newt in florida. one of the romney advisors, stewart stevens, called brett o'donnell, which when the story was posted on-line and had o'donnell call jim rutenburg, one of the story's co-authors, to have his, o'donnell's role, in the comeback downplayed in the piece. >> i thought that was a fascinating behind the scene peek. usually people try to get more credit, and here's the campaign pressuring the former debate coach to call the new york sometimes and give him less credit. i've got to take a break here. when we come back, barack obama hangs out at google. plus, taking video questions from ordinary folks. is the white house making journalists obsolete? ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life.
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there were no journalists involved. the president was hanging out at google plus, one of the newest social networking web sites dealing with questions like this one. >> my question to you is why does the government continue to issue and extend h1b visas when there are tons of americans, just like my husband, with no job? >> if you send me your his's resume, i would be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there. >> christina, to be clear,
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google picked the questioners, not the white house. the people at google don't pretend to be journalists. what are you feeling about the white house stage this high profile and no journal is involved whatsoever? >> it's not any different than having a town hall and preselecting people for questions. the president likes environments like this. now, i often think that real people and not journalists tend to ask better questions of politicians than we do because they're not thinking about process and thinking about their headline, but this is an area where the white house is far more comfortable being able to do that, and he is able to really showcase the real guy sort of kitchen table conversation. >> one woman said i have been unemployed for five years, and what are you going to do for me? michael, you have been a white house correspondent. reporters who cover this guy for a living, they don't get as many opportunities to shout questions at home as under some previous presidents. >> i think, you know, all of us who cover presidents want more access, more opportunities to direct questions. i will say that, you know, this is one of those examples,
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though, this google plus thing, where even without the -- those of us that do this for a living, he actually made news, right? i mean, his response to that woman's question indicated a sort of sense of surprise that her husband was not, you know -- was not able to get a job and then the republican candidate mitt romney and others latched on to it saying how could he be surprised? that shows he is detached. there are ways that news can develop even in these kinds of settings. >> yeah. now, look, this is the latest it rags over the centuries for how presidents find ways to go around the press corps, and this is sort of the latest greatest because it seizes on new technology. what president bush tried to do with the regional tv interviews -- >> at least there was some sem blens of journalistic involvement in those? >> but going around white house press corps. >> absolutely. >> facebook chats and all of these things. >> the president has made very clear he has no like or real wanting to talk to his press
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corps, and there are presidents that -- exactly. yet, he does want to have, you know, off the record discussions with journalists over lunch just sort of to talk out issues and schmooze and just talk about big thinking instead of actually answering our questions. >> does the average person care whether journalists are involved? it looks like he is taking questions from americans. >> it's funny because the easy answer is no, they could care less, but i think they doment accountability in their leaders, and i think if you probe them, they would say yes. the vast folks that do accountability are journalists. >> there will be a journalist talking to the president of the united states today. matt lauer. nbc has the super bowl this year, and there will be the pregame interview with obama, which i guess is done every year that he has been in office. is this an important -- given the huge audience. is this an important outlet for the president, or is he just the warm-up act for madonna here? >> i mean, look, it's smart by the white house. he has done that on other sporting venues as well because it's big audiences and it's sort of a more real america kind of audience as well than you might
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get in a more political show. you know, i wouldn't expect much hard-hitting, you know, journalism. >> i love matt lauer. he is a hard-hitting journalist. >> no criticism of him, but it's not the setting. >> i don't know if he will ask super tough questions. >> will o'reilly had very tough questions for the president, and then quite a back and forth. >> even in an interview, i mean, this is a top notch politician just like anybody who gets in front of a cam are. they're never going to make real news or get into some giant sparring match with whoever is interviewing them. that just doesn't happen. obama is going to answer questions, and it will be mildly interesting. maybe. >> questions about the game. >> can you say right now the last question will be giants or patriots? he will probably waffle. >> by the way, this is good for the president because he actually is a real sports fan. he can actually -- he can talk x's and o's before the big game. >> that's why he did the basketball brackets on cnn. >> jonathan, christina, michael, thanks for dropping by this morning. coming up in the second part of ""reliable sources" "how
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media uproar forced the susan g.komen foundation to reup its support of planned parenthood. will the media soon start ignoring newt gingrich? plus, facebook's massive public offering. is mark zuckerburg's operation unstoppable as a new media juggernaut? cher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science. ♪ isn't that cool? and that's pretty cool. ♪
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it took 72 hours for the susan b.komen foundation to pools for its position to stop sending money to planned parenthood. that happened for one reason only. media pressure. the story spleeded on social networking sites like facebook and twitter and then made it to the front pages of the washington post and "new york times" and the network newscast. >> in a firestorm erupting when the susan g.komen foundation, the nation's largest breast cancer charity, announce thad it would stop giving funds to planned parenthood for breast cancer screenings and the controversy shows no sign of abating. >> it is broken wide open in the last 24 hours. while some have reacted positively to the komen decision to cut off frundz from planned parenthood, most of the vocal
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reaction has been negative. >> perhaps the most outspoken news anchor to take on the breast cancer group, northbound's andrea mitchell. >> let me just put out clear, first of all, that i have been very identified and an outspoken supporter and participant in the races over the years, long before i myself ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer, so i just want to put that out there. we've known eave other a long time as well, both when you were a diplomat at the state department, but i come to you today, you know, expressing the anger of a lot of people channelling through them. you see it on fwiter and everywhere. >> all i can tell you is the responses we are getting are very, very favorable. people who have bothered to read the material, who have bothered to understand the issues. >> very favorable, but on friday the day after that interview komen founder was reversing its decision, but did the media take sides in this hot button dispute about abortion? joining us now michelle, washington correspondent for "news week" and "the daily beast" and matt lewis, senior
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contributor. do journalists like andrea mitchell essentially forced susan g. komen foundation into this apology? >> yes, on some level. a lot of people were involved, but breast cancer is an extremely touchy issue. it's become a big political issue on its own. you know, everybody to show that they're pro-woman will come up with some full that they can put a pink ribbon on. the idea that komen could wade into this and make this nounment and that planned parenthood, you know, it's just absolutely going to become a really big deal. i don't know what they were thinking that they could kind of slide this under the radar. clearly that was taking a position. >> she said she was expressing the anger of a lot of people, and she did make a disclosure by saying that she herself had
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suffered from breast cancer, but you're saying that she stepped out of her role too far in your view? >> it struck me as chastizing them for this decision. maybe they shupd not have politicized. gallop says about 50% of women are pro-life. i think there are a lot of people who supported komen who didn't realize to begin with that they were giving money to the largest abortion provider in the nation. that was going political. >> but when you are looking at this and as many women that i know have pointed out to me, you can talk about how money is funningible, but you can also look at this as that money wasn't going to abortions. it was going to screening, and any team you talk about taking away access to mammography screening for women, you get into a heap of trouble. when scientists suggested you shouldn't be doing it as frequently as we currently advise, people went crazy as
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though we were trying to attack women. >> well, first come back to matt's point about andrea mitchell. i think that interview was a turning point. nancy brinker didn't have many good answers to the questions here, and they kept shifting their splanks about why. that didn't help either. is it permissible for news anchor to step out of the role of objective viewer and say, hey, this is what i mean. >> would you rather her have kept it a secret that she personally has been involved in this group? everybody has an opinion. this wasn't a political issue for andrea. this was a personal issue. you can't confuse the two. >> i think that speaks to the problem. this goes back to the whole pauline kale, i never knew anybody who voted for richard nixon thing. ralph in the "new york times" has a great piece today pointing out this is very illustrative of liberal bias. the most insidious type, which is a world view. she doesn't think it's a political show to say that this group -- and that komen should be giving money to planned
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parenthood. that's the problem that she doesn't think it's mribl political. it's inherently political. >> just because you object to some of the things planned parenthood does, doesn't mean that some of the other things that planned -- >> that's like say my wife only cheats on me 3% of the time. >> that's not remotely like saying that, and andrea's point was that she has a personal position on the issue. >> people who are pro-life and gallop says half the women in 2009 are pro-life. people who are pro-life believe abortion is murder. that is a deal breaker. >> we are not talking about them funding abortion. i understand the money -- >> the money is fungable. >> we should all be supporting komen. it should be a bipartisan issue. they have now made it a dif ice i hot button issue. >> that's stupid on their part. i agree. >> let me come back to the coverage because there is a sense -- i have read this that if you give money to planned parenthood, that that's not a political act, but if you take
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money away from planned parenthood, that is a political act, and wasn't that reflected in the coverage regardless of your own news about pro life versus pro choice where the media coverage here kind of minimizes the voices of those who -- >> who said that giving money to planned parenthood? i understand what we're talking about here. >> it's a political decision, but it's not. >> either way it's a political decision, so komen was just beyond stupid to make this an issue. i mean, i've had women suggest to me if they had a problem with planned parenthood, they should have quietly started withdrawing the money. nobody would have ever -- as you say, nobody knew they gave them all this money. i mean, it -- they didn't have to make this big announcement that they were pulling this money. >> but was there a collect iive under tone that there was an outrage that had the affect of taking sides? >> i think absolutely. you like how you make a very good point, under tow. there are a couple of examples that are pointed out. claire saying the pink ribbon is
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sporting a black eye today, and you have played the andrea mitchell quote, but largely, it wasn't anything that i could point to somebody said this. it's that good people are pro choice, and that good people and mart people think. >> that's malarkey. what the assumption is that any time you are limiting access to mammography in any way, and we saw this with the obama administration it doesn't matter if mammograms are not recommend. in any way you touch these, people go crazy, and that's what happens. >> it is fair, it seems to me, to point out that the komen foundation got a black eye over this despite its pink ribbons.
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>> this sends a good -- not a good signal, but a good signal if you try to take money from planned -- if you were a nonprofit, and your core mission is as curing or ending breast cancer, there is a signal now that says if you take money away from planned parenthood, we will come after you, we will make a big issue out of it. it's a chilling effect. >> did the media lead the charge here by making it such a big story, or were the media camping up with a lot of outrage that was expressed in plays like twitter and facebook? >> i got emails from friends. i got phone calls from friends i understand the question of was the media depoliticizing it, but i still maintain any time you are talking about a subject this personal, of course, they're going to go crazy. >> it's reflected in the -- >> let me make one last point. the larger point is the disconnect between media elites, people who liver in new york and washington, and the rest of
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america, and this was indicative of that divide. >> well, it's a difr icive issue. we've seen that reflected here in the passion this morning. newt gingrich held a news conference last night, late last night, to proclaim he is not getting out after losing the nevada caucuses. i thought he didn't like that media elite. akeup out there. but one is so clever that your skin looks better even after you take it off. neutrogena® healthy skin liquid makeup. 98% saw improved skin. does your makeup do that? neutrogena® cosmetics. does your makeup do that? the hyundai genesis.
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sflamplgts institute gingrich finishing a distant second in the nevada caucuses. he held a news conference last night, and he ran into kept skal questioning on "meet the press" and "face the nation." >> what is the path for you to win this nomination, when & what's the rationale? >> what do you si cia now, mr. speaker, as your path to the nomination? how do you do it now if you aren, indeed, going stay in? >> that is if gingrich doesn't like the media elite, why does he like the media elite shows? >> it is a love-hate relationship. gingrich has a real problem. february will be brutal. now, the good news is, he needs media. romney won't be getting a lot of delegates, but he will be getting a lot of buzz from winning. newt needs to make a splash and keep his name out there. >> last night the first question was we haven't seen much of you in nevada and newt gingrich said have you missed it? does he secretly like the press
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core? he likes attention. >> he did well in these debates that were sponsored and broadcast by the media elite. >> and taking on the moderators like king and others. >> whipping the media as the favorite boogie man is the way he gets his biggest cheers. he is a complete hypocrite on this question. >> hypocrite in the sense that -- >> to complain about it and talks about how he is going to -- >> he likes to xwlan about it, and that's interesting. >> yes. >> doesn't really hate the media. >> no. >> he likes it. it's fun. it shows. i think it helps him. >> it's a secret romance. i want to touch on the role of the conservative media, which as you know, really turned on gingrich after south carolina. it looked like -- here's rush limbaugh the day before tuesday's florida primary. couldn't seem to make up his mind. >> and that's why i'm not going to tell anybody for whom i voted. it would destroy my objectivity as a journalist. i'm not going to tell you. it isn't going to happen,
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because when this is all over, i am not going to be in a position where my credibility is such that i can't support whoever the nominee is. >> your side, the conservative media side, can't seem to muster much enthusiasm for mitt or newt? >> they're all flawed, and there are legitimate reasons why they're splintering. each one of them has problems, but i think also at this point if rush limbaugh, who is incredibly powerful, but if he were to give, say, gingrich a full-throated endorsement and gingrich didn't win, rush now looks weak, and the media, of course, would exploit that. >> rush says he doesn't want to compromise his credibility depending on who emerges. >> i'm stunned as a journalist came out of that man's mouth. he spends all his time telling us how he is an entertainer, but now he is it a journalist with objectivity and credibility. >> i have never seen you look so stunned. thank you very much for joining us. after the break, face boos plunges into the stock market. that means its market value
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could be 100 times greater than that of the "new york times" company. are friends becoming the new journal is. you know when i grow up,
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i'm going to own my own restaurant. i want to be a volunteer firefighter. when i grow up, i want to write a novel. i want to go on a road trip. when i grow up, i'm going to go there. i want to fix up old houses. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. i want to fall in love again. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life. get this free travel bag when you join at have more fiber than other leading brands. they're the better way to enjoy your fiber. mark zucker burg says
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facebook wasn't built to be a company, but to accomplish a social mission. it became clear that the 8-year-old venture is very much a company. >> facebook is looking for a few good friends. friends with money. >> good evening. the brainstorm that was hatched in a dorm room at harvard eight years ago, the idea that changed what it means to be a friend is tonight poised to go public in a very big way. >> the stock offering could value the social network as much as $100 billion. here's the question, my friends. how much of facebook's success is built on a new media model are people trust news and information from their pals more than from professional journalists? joining us now from new york, felix salmon, business blogger foz route rerz, and here mark potts, former technology reporter for the washington post, and now an internet media consultant that teaches journalism at the university of maryland. felix, how much is the information sharing on facebook becoming in some ways more influential than the old line media organizations? >> it's already there. you can see that in the
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capitalizations. can you see that in the traffic. can you see that in the hundreds of millions of users that facebook has, and this is how people get their news. this is where people go to get their news. historically we would always turn to our friends to tell us what was going on, but it was limited by the fact that we didn't actually run into too many of them on a daily basis, and now we have hundreds of our friends at our finger tips at all times, and that's how we choose to filter the world. it's very effective. >> it's clearly a force, and this just gives it more money to build more things and create more media-like features. >> are you comfortable with people getting -- is it kind of limiting, perhaps isolating, perhaps self-reinforcing to get information from your friends? are you uncomfortable at all
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that journal it'ses seem to be cut out of this transaction? >> i don't think journalists are cut or. i think in some cases friends are retransmitting things that are seen in standard journalism. >> it becomes kind of a mega phone for the dinosaur media. >> it's a meg wra phone. it's another way of getting getting dinosaur media's message across. >> the numbers are staringing. 845 million users. 270 billion comments and like where you say you like a particular article or comment each day. is this really the new model, and how come, you know, cnn or the "new york times" or the washington post, time magazine didn't dream this up? >> because they own content, because they were built to own the content and to have tight copyright restrictions over it and to be very jealous about it. what facebook said was we don't really care who owns the content. we're just going to let anyone share whatever they like, and we're not going to own it. we're just going to sell ads for
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what people choose to share, and that turns out to be a light-fingered loose approach to news and to content turns on the to be a lot more effective than this is mine and you -- and you have to come visit my site to read what's mine and if it's not mine, i'm not interested in giving it to you. >> so it's very democratic in the sense that it puts the choices in the hands of the friends or the users. at the same time it can mean that a lot of silly stuff becomes the most popular viral -- >> i don't know if you, but i definitely have noticed facebook -- my facebook world getting a little sillier of late. it's turning into more of a buzz feed or something. i worry about that. i think that it's a way of driving paid views, but lose aing certain amount of saleience and reputational. i normally trust what my friends share, but facebook -- my friends now share so much, and everybody's friends share so much that facebook now has very sophisticated alga rhythms to show you, like, the good stuff or the important stuff or the
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stuff that you are just going to click on and to link, and i worry that facebook right now is moving too far in that sort of sensationalist direction. >> do you want to share your views on this? >> and you i, i think we have 79 friends in common between us. you know, i go another way, which is the brilliance of facebook compared to the traditional media is that facebook's content is created by its members. they're not paying for a lot of content. they're getting it all from people -- your friends are creating the content that you're reading. >> i should point out that facebook is trying to work with journalists. you can subscribe. "washington post," for instance, created social reader where you follow online what your friends are reading in "the post" and elsewhere. 6.5 million people signed up. it could also be a good tool for the hacks. >> i think the number is up to 8 million in "the post." it's great to have all that traffic. how do you sell ads on it? that's the next question. but absolutely. it shows there is an attraction of those brands that people like the names that they recognize and they have some credibility with and trust with, and they
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want to attach themselves to it. >> and felix, what about the glowing coverage of facebook's ipo? the company almost seems to be covered in a rather romantic way by those of us in the press. >> it's weird, isn't it? when facebook was this private company, we were all worried it was evil and it was invading our privacy. now you get to say world's youngest multibillionaire. ooh, isn't this exciting and it's very gushing. i feel it's sort of standard honeymoon thing. it's probably not going to last very long. remember that facebook is a media company. it makes substantially all of its money from selling ads just like all other media companies and it's a competitor. so the coverage isn't going to stay glowing for that long. >> let's face it. it's a great story. kid starts in his dorm room and then it's worth $28 million. >> a traditional company would get more stories how like in bloomberg, the seven board of directors, all men.
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finally, the whole basis of this 75 to $100 billion valuation is the people who sign up for free. so if they all decide to go to some other hot site, where does that leave zuckerberg? what's he got left? >> this is the ris risk. we've seen social networks flame out. they're kind of like popular bars that lose their attraction. we saw friendster and tribe before this. >> myspace. >> myspace. facebook is the size of all but a few countries. i'd argue it has staying power, but who knows? in five years something better may come along. >> and the people who hold that stock may have second thoughts about the decision to buy. it's a fascinating story we'll continue to cover. thank you, my friends, felix and mark. appreciate your joining us. still to come, the public radio show falls for an elaborate hoax. what does it feel like to be smacked down by the muppets? the media monitor is straight ahead.
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time now for the "media monitor." marketplace is a very smart public radio show that just did a very dumb thing. as part of a series of first-person profiles, it ran a commentary by leo webb that
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turned out to be, well, factually challenged. >> i was a sniper in the middle east. i didn't want to do that. but the army finds your talent and that's what i did. i got 17 confirmed kills. i didn't see their faces. i only saw them through the scope and blew their brains out. >> as you just heard, webb claimed to be an army sniper in iraq, but the army has no record of his having served. he said he once pitched for chicago cubs' minor team. again, no record of that. didn't marketplace do the most rudimentary checking of this report? kqed, the san francisco station that provided the report, have now retracted it and taken the audio down. first-person journalism can be great, but you can't just take it on faith. last week i challenged "the new york times" running a story saying that former yale quarterback patrick witt turned down a rhodes scholarship interview because of a sexual complaint that never led to any
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charges. mark brisbane writes that reporting a claim of sexual assault based on anonymous sourcing without mr. witt's and the woman's side of it was unfair to mr. witt. when something as serious as a person's reputation is as stake, it's not enough on anonymous sourcing saying effectively trust us. he's right. networks live and die by ratings, and sometimes it turns out they play games with those ratings. bill carter has a fascinating report and pulls back on some of its chicanechicanery. they didn't want to be hit by the low numbers in the last week of 2011, so abc classified four shows. when brian williams moderated a republican presidential debate, nbc listed it as an episode of his new magazine show "rock center," so the big audience doubled his your rating. there seems to be an everyone-does-it attitude about these gimmicks, but they're a little too slippery for my
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taste. finally, you may have heard about the vicious attack on fox news from a rather unexpected source. it all began when fox host eric bowling took exception to a certain kids' movie. >> "the muppets" are back and being terrorized by an evil oil executive in their new movie, is liberal hollywood using class warfare to brainwash our kids? >> well, no self-respecting muppet was going to take that lying down. let's go to the press conference. >> if we have a problem with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around a gas-guzzling rolls royce? >> it's almost as laughable as accusing fox news of, you know, being news. >> and the reaction at fox? unusually restrained. >> we still like "the muppets," but they'd better watch it. >> i can see where it's hard to be called out by miss piggy, but not much point in picking a figh